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Village Vision News

Rail corridor to be converted to walking trail

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Under the New Business section of the agenda for the Jan. 18 board of trustees meeting was an item described as Ordinance No. 2016-1. This ordinance, if approved, would authorize acceptance of a quitclaim deed for the Illinois Central Railroad right-of-way. What this means is that if trustees approved the ordinance, a parcel of federal land located within the boundaries of the village would be deeded to the village to be used for public recreational purposes.

This falls under what’s known as the Rails to Trails Act, which allows the federal government to transfer abandoned railroad corridors to communities at no cost as long as the land is converted to “trails” or for public recreation use.

This particular piece of land is part of a 10.5 mile stretch of what was once part of a railroad line. The portion of the land located in the village runs roughly from south of Weaver Road behind Lowe’s north to County Highway 20.

Village Attorney Jeff Jurgens has been handling the details on the village’s behalf, including working with the Bureau of Land Management, for a number of years. New boards, new mayors and new village administrators have arrived on the scene since this project first became a possibility.

Trustee Jim Peck asked Jurgens what the time table might be for everything to be finalized.

“It’s hard to predict, but probably months before we get the deed,” Jurgens said. “We might want to get the area surveyed once we get a little closer to getting the deed.”

Trustee David Wendt made the motion, which was seconded by Trustee Bob Gruenewald. All votes were Yea; the ordinance carried.

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